Active Meditation: Mindfulness in Action

Who has time to meditate with the fast pace of life and business nowadays?

No, you do not have to be sitting in the lotus position with your eyes closed to get best results as I first thought.

The reason I decided to write this article is because many of my clients are making themselves wrong for not making the time to meditate. They are telling me that they feel they need to create time for it to be most effective. In other words they are thinking they need to be meditating in a certain way for best results.

Can you relate to this?

I certainly can. Especially during my first attempts to meditate, with my head telling me that this is a waste of time, I have better things to do, where is this going to get me?

The monkey mind – chitter chatter – just wouldn’t slow down at all.

Yes, I had a very busy mind that would always be racing ahead.

How do I do this meditation stuff so that I can stop driving myself crazy jumping from goal to goal or project to project? Exhausting myself!!!

Trying to get it right. Only to find there is no right way. Let’s find your way.

There are many forms of meditation –
it is important to find what works best for you.

Ultimately, you want to feel like you are in a state of consciousness throughout your day for focused productivity, engaging communication and creative innovation. If not, you may find yourself reacting to situations and circumstances leaving you feeling exhausted at the end of the day.

  • This is where meditation and mindfulness can support you.

Yes, meditation can consist of sitting quietly and being with your thoughts and your breath. I don’t know about you, but as a high achiever and go-getter personality style, I found that style of meditation very challenging to do in the beginning. So I chose to start with creative visualization and deep breathing for only 5 minutes, and increased the time, as I gave myself permission to sit for longer.

Today, this has expanded into what I like to call ‘mindfulness in action’.

This means that I focus on my breath being conscious to my senses, as I take action throughout the day. This supports me to become a lot calmer, present and conscious inside of each activity, without reacting to outside circumstances. From this stance, I can make better decisions because of being grounded and connected with mind and body.

  • For example, if I am about to step into a meeting, I take a few deep breaths sending this into my body taking me out of my strategic mind racing ahead. With my first priority being to connect with my inner body being still in mind and body. My objective is to stay fully present to the environment, the people in the room, the language they are using, sensing what they are saying and what they are not saying.

Listening with a beginner’s mind, connecting with
all your senses will support you to become an
influential observer with inspiring presence.

Being the observer creates space to listen without judgment or pre-conceived ideas. Being the observer will support your active listening skills, which is much more powerful as you can take everything in using all your senses. If you jump in too quickly, you will not hear all. What is being said and what is not being said. You will then know exactly what to say or do that will make a difference inspiring everyone in the room.

I then take this home with me and remind myself to live being conscious using all my senses. Being fully present to my relationships at home, in my community, at work etc. creates a state of presence. This means taking powerful ownership of all your emotions.

If you have a busy mind, as I do, one of the best practices I choose is to focus on my breath as often as I can throughout the day. This creates space between your strategic mind and your creative mind.

For innovation and natural creativity to flow, it is important to create plenty of space for your mind to relax so that you can hear your inspiring vision and next steps from your innovative wisdom.

There are plenty of times I catch myself trying to work it all out from my strategic mind, to which I then push the pause button and take a deep breath; shifting my presence back into my body – not trying to work it all out in my head.

Notice whether you are getting in your own way by working harder or driving yourself to find the solution coming from force.

The best solutions will always come to you when
you are most relaxed.

I just noticed myself taking another deep breath with a slow exhalation, as I am writing this article. I caught myself realising that this is becoming more and more a natural practice inside my day.

  • Let’s push the pause button for a moment and ‘take a deep breath in’ – and ‘let it go’. I know, a little corny, but it works if done consistently.

It does take a conscious reminder in the beginning and with repetition; it will slowly become a natural part of your being.

This reminds me of when I was a personal trainer of the many times I would be coaching my clients to relax their mind and body for best results through the power of the conscious breath. It’s interesting how I find myself using this simple practice personally and with my professional coaching clients today.

  • Never underestimate the simple repetitive steps as they can create extraordinary results.

No matter what results you want in your personal and professional life, it is paramount to know who is showing up.

  • Are you being calm and relaxed from inside out?
  • Are you being present in a state of presence?
  • Are you fully listening with all your senses?
  • Are you communicating with language that inspires others?

Practice mindfulness in action throughout your day with greater self-awareness for best results in your personal and professional life.

If you are wanting to close the gap from where you are now to achieve next level success, contact me to book in for a 15-minute introduction to coaching conversation to discuss your requirements http://annettestanton.com/contact/

Transform your Life in 2018

Every year my husband and I have a celebration ritual next to our pool with a glass of champagne to reflect on the past year. In previous years, we found that we could not remember everything that we had accomplished, what we were grateful for, the people we met, the events that we engaged in, the projects we completed etc.

So I decided, in January 2017, to set up a large vase and placed it in the corner kitchen bench so we could see it every day as a reminder to reflect on our day. We would write on a post-it note with the date and whatever it was we were grateful for within that day. If we went to an event, we would place the tickets in the vase. Very quickly the vase was bursting with the energy of life’s gratitude.

Here is a picture of our life’s celebration vase.

Celebration vase

When it came time to go through our reflections, sipping on our chilled champagne next to the pool, we were both pleasantly surprised as to how much we had achieved, received, connected and engaged with in life.

As we reflected on our year, we both mentioned that we had so much more to be grateful for that we had not placed in the vase. Mark, my husband, also mentioned how surprised he was about how full a life we actually live without realising.

It is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day busy schedule, with life skipping by so fast, we forget to really connect with the life we are living each day.

Transform your Life in 2018

One of the things that became clear to both of us by doing this was the pattern of what was most important in our life. The repetitive actions we took, what we were doing with our time, how we were exerting our energy, where we were spending our money etc.

This created a clear opening as to our evolving vision, goals and next steps for this coming year knowing these were all in alignment with our true values.

Our next step is to create a vision map matching our vision, goals and values.

Are you living your inspirational vision in alignment with your true values?

Make sure 2018 is your best year yet. If you have been thinking about hiring a coach to partner you in transforming your life, then please contact me http://annettestanton.com/contact/

A little more about vision mapping (exert from The Power of Vision book) http://annettestanton.com/author/

Vision Mapping

The brain works with sensory images and associations radiating from those images. Every day, you take in images, which affect your life. Using selected images (goals) and associations (values) will support you in maintaining focus on what you do want to attract.

A vision map is a collage of pictures, photos, inspirational words etc. of your goals, values and vision. You can’t buy a vision map; it is important that you spend the time to collect pictures based on your own goals, values and vision. When you bring colour into your images (goals), this adds extra vibrancy and energy, suggesting the possibility of creative thinking in achieving your goals.

When I first started creating vision maps for myself and facilitating vision mapping in workshops, I would place all my goals and vision onto one map. This worked really well, though today I do it a little differently. I have fun every year collecting pictures and photos to make up my three separate vision maps in the areas of business, personal life and travel. All of my vision maps are hanging in my office and my home so that I can view them daily.

Vision Success Tip

Creating your Vision Map

Choose whether you would like to begin with one vision map, or separate your life into three or four areas. Get yourself a large sheet of cardboard and place a photo of you and your family in the centre. Starting in the centre allows you to express yourself freely and spread out in any direction. Now collect pictures and inspirational words from magazines or the internet and paste them on your vision map. The end result will be a colourful vision map of what you truly desire. Look at it every day and take in the colour and life of the pictures as though you have already achieved your vision.  

Transform your Life and Business to New Heights

Are you interested, or even curious, about how The Coach Approach can transform your business and personal life? Become the game changer today!

Ask about my One on One Coaching Programs, or you may prefer my Group Coaching Program for individuals, teams and organisations.

With over 35 years of coaching and mentoring experience working with executives, business owners, coaches and entrepreneurs, I will coach you to gain clarity of direction and partner you in taking action towards living your inspirational vision with confidence, presence and freedom.

Contact Annette today for an introductory coaching session email: http://annettestanton.com/contact/

Live a Stress Less Life

In your busy daily life, it is very important to make time for some form of relaxation. This can help to reduce the effects of stress on your body and your mind. If you take on the practice of daily relaxation, you will feel much more in control of your life. Relaxation involves both the body and the mind. To work on one is to work on the other. Even if you choose to take 10 deep conscious breaths every day as your form of relaxation, then that is better than doing nothing at all.

Relaxation does not mean being lazy. It plays an important role in the rejuvenation of your body and quietening of the mind. Taking time out for yourself may be a challenge for you. You might feel a sense of guilt about it. This is normal, especially if you are not yet practised in doing things just for you. You might even find that the challenge is in ‘being’ with yourself, especially if you are the type of person who continually needs to be ‘doing’ things with others or for others and the thought of being alone is not inviting. It does take practice and the more you do your chosen form of relaxation, the more you will want to spend time with yourself.

The benefits of daily relaxation go beyond the obvious one of reducing stress. You will also gain clarity of mind, your creativity and intuition will unfold, you will deal with challenges with much more inner peace, you will have more energy . . . the list goes on.

Live a Stress Life

 

Simple Relaxation Techniques

After many years of practising different quick and easy forms of relaxation, I would like to share with you some of the ones that have helped me to maintain a stress less life.

Mirror Work

Look into your eyes in the mirror every day for 1-2 minutes. Connect with yourself by staying focused on your eyes. Notice how you might want to judge yourself and your facial features. Let it go and keep coming back to your eyes. Take deep breaths whilst looking into your eyes and connecting with yourself. If you hear any negative head talk during this process, write it down after your 1-2 minutes is up and create positive affirmations from your negative head talk. This is your subconscious coming to the forefront, indicating beliefs that you may need to work on.

Conscious Breathing

Sit in an upright position or lie down. Close your eyes if you wish. Concentrate on your breathing, in through your nose and releasing the breath out through your mouth. Say in your head: “I’m breathing in . . . I’m breathing out . . .” as you stay focused on your breath. This will slow down your mind and reduce feelings of anxiety. Conscious breathing is beneficial if you are lying in bed and feeling restless. This will help you to relax for a better sleep. Try it.

Nostril Breathing

Place the thumb of your right hand over your right nostril. Take a deep breath in through the left nostril. Place the right index finger over the left nostril and release the breath out of the right nostril. Repeat this 5 times using your right hand, and then repeat the same process using your left hand. Notice how quickly any anxious feelings dissipate.

Open Eye Candle Meditation

Light your favourite candle and place it on a table in front of you. Place yourself in a comfortable sitting position with your back upright. Gaze into the flame of the candle. Take slow, long deep breaths as you hold a soft gaze on the flame. Notice the calm and serene feelings that pour through your body. Stay with the gaze from 5 minutes to 20 minutes or more if you desire.

Walking in Nature

When you are enjoying your daily walk out in the beautiful sunshine, practice being 100% present to nature. Let any thoughts drift through the mind and focus on the trees, the roses in the garden, all the nature surrounding you. Every step you take, be conscious and feel your body moving. Look into the sky and feel the expansion of your chest as you take in the next breath. The miracle of nature mirrors the growth of you. Just as through nurturing, a seed grows, so through nurturing yourself, you will flourish. Say your positive affirmations while you are walking and notice how tall you feel.

If you sick and tired of continually running on empty, feeling drained in your energy levels and this is affecting your productivity and efficiency at work with no energy left for yourself at the end of the day, contact me today for an introductory coaching conversation. www.annettestanton.com/contact/

Once you have read the article, leave a comment and let me know…

What’s the single most important action you can take right now towards creating a reserve of energy levels each day?

Achieve your Goals: Inspired Action Planning gains Clarity

How often have you felt a gap between where you are now in life and what you truly want to be, do and have? I do not know how many times I would set a goal and get so excited about achieving it – that feeling of, “Yes, it’s definitely going to be real this time around, I’ve made up my mind!” Then slowly I noticed the excitement fading into uncertainty and frustration. Can you relate to this?

One of the crucial keys to achieving your goals is to have an action plan detailing how you are going to close the gap and make your goal a reality.

I have always been goal orientated, right from my sporting career days, with the goal being to compete in the next championships or achieve the best player for the season. At the start of each pre-season, I would make up a plan of how I was going to achieve this, what type of training was required from pre-season, through to maintaining my seasonal fitness and post-season.

Years later, I realised that I had only ever put a plan together to achieve my sporting goals. What about my personal, business career, relationships and every other area of my life? Maybe that is why those areas were the most challenging parts of my life. They were also the most rewarding learning lessons that I love coaching people in today.

I soon realised that if I could use this process in my sporting career, I could apply the same practice to my whole life. I was so excited about this new insight I had gained for myself. As soon as I made a step-by-step plan of how I was going to achieve goals in all areas, I felt I had more control of my life, and could move forward with greater balance.

I remember years ago I wrote out my goals on a sheet of paper and stuck it in the filing cabinet, never looking at it until the next time I cleaned the cabinet out. To my surprise, I found that most goals were still achieved. It was then that I realised that if I had a step-by-step plan of action towards achieving these goals, I would consciously and purposefully achieve them.

A common question I hear from clients is ”Where do I begin to achieve my goals?” Are you the sort of person who has goals, who may even read your goals regularly, but wonder why you are not achieving them? Well, do you have a plan? Without a plan, a goal will feel like a distant hopeful wish. You will stay on track much more easily with a step-by-step plan, however, small the steps. I believe in taking little steps and building momentum from there.

Achieve your Goals: Inspired Action Planning gains Clarity

 

There are 6 Steps to Inspired Action Planning

  • What is your Goal?
  • Why do you want to achieve this Goal?
  • When do you want to achieve this Goal by?
  • Who are your Resources – the people who can support you in achieving your Goal?
  • How? These are the action steps you currently know you want to take to achieve your Goal.
  • How will you celebrate when you have achieved your Goal?

Enjoy planning your inspirational stepping-stones to achieving your goals.

If you know it is time to step up and play a bigger and stronger game that truly inspires you, your team, your family etc., contact me today for an introductory coaching conversation. www.annettestanton.com/contact/

Once you have read the article, leave a comment and let me know…

What’s the single most important action you can take right now towards achieving your goals?

If you know of a leader who is being challenged and they know it is time to step up and play a bigger and stronger game, please share this article.

The Game Changer: Change your Life with Powerful Statements

Yes, you can change your life. I know this is a very profound statement and I say it because I have done it myself. Until I was about 30 years old, I was so shy that I hardly ever spoke, and I lived a lot of my life in my head. My only self-expression was through my physical body, as an excellent sportswoman.

I started to wonder why I could express myself naturally as a sportswoman, but not in my personal and professional life. This was a challenge to me because at that time I spent a lot of my life worrying about my past (which I could not do anything about) or thinking about the future (which had not even occurred yet).

As I observed myself in my sporting arena, what stood out the most was that I had to respond to the plays spontaneously in the moment, otherwise the opportunity was lost. That was my breakthrough! I was 100% present in the moment on and off the field as the captain coach, leading the team and holding on to the higher purpose of the game. Obviously, I had trained my level of fitness and skills to respond quickly.

My greatest challenge in my personal and professional life was living in the present moment. Once I started to practise being present, I began to hear my predominantly negative self-statements, which were obviously based on my fears of all the ‘what ifs’ (which, by the way, never happened). What a waste of energy and time in my life that was!

I decided it was time to get serious about this positive self-statement stuff! I admit I was still a little apprehensive about affirmations because I had attempted to do them a few years before, without success. Now I realise that I had always done them in a very reactive state when I either felt negative or frustrated – and that I’d soon given up, wondering why affirmations never worked for me.

Once I began to do my affirmations more effectively, I had to keep saying them, as the conscious mind will only take on the thoughts and words you consistently tell yourself. This will eventually become a part of who you are naturally, as a new – and rewarding – habit.

I will take you through the steps I took that helped me make the changes. To get the maximum from my experience, why not go through the steps with me now? I have used the true-life example of developing my self-confidence in my personal and professional life.

The Game Changer: Change your Life with Powerful Statements

Step 1

I wrote down the negative head talk and became conscious of what I was automatically saying to myself, about others and myself.

e.g. “I am not confident” . . .  “I wish I looked and acted confidently like her or him”  . . . “I am not very good at . . .”

Step 2

Then I changed the wording of those negative self-statements into positive present tense affirmations and wrote them on palm cards to keep in the office, car, fridge etc. as a reminder.

e.g.

I am confident

I act confidently

I am great at . . . 

Step 3

I chose to say the affirmations as many times as possible during my day no matter what. I said them with feeling, emotion and belief, as though I had already achieved them.

Tip:

Choose a maximum of three affirmations to say each time. If you do not feel comfortable with the affirmation, you may need to change the wording to suit you. Keep saying your chosen affirmations until you feel you own them and your life begins to show up that way.

Step 4

I asked myself, “Who do I need to become to achieve this?” Then I made a list of what confident people do, how they act, what they wear, how they walk. I started taking on all those actions, like walking tall down the street looking people in the eyes, smiling and acting confidently (yes, fake it until you make it – definitely works), speaking to people even when I felt nervous.

 

With daily commitment in practising to be confident, I built a new habit, which changed my life, and I naturally became confident. The new me went from being a shy person to becoming a public speaker, moving interstate and developing my first business, stepping out of my comfort zone and participating in adventurous events such as jumping out of a plane skydiving, just to mention a few.

I cannot tell you how long or short a time it took because there was no line to cross over that marked the difference between ‘shy’ and ‘confident’. I remember one day just noticing how confident I now was and it felt so natural and humbling.

We are all made up of our habits. I decided to make being confident a new habit, purely by taking on new behaviours and acting out ‘confidence’ until it was a part of who I naturally am today. If I can do it, I know you can too. Think about what habit you would like to change and start taking on the new actions until they are a part of who you are. Does a little part of my shyness still pop up in my life every so often? Yes! Of course, it does and in that moment I remind myself that I am not committed to being that way.

Who are you committed to being in your life? Become the game changer today!

If you know it is time to change your game in life and become the person you know you truly want to be, contact me today for an introductory coaching conversation. www.annettestanton.com/contact/

Once you have read the article, leave a comment and let me know…

What’s the single most important action you can take right now towards becoming the game changer in your life?

If you know of a leader who is being challenged and they know it is time to step up and become the game changer, please share this article.

Is The Ego Path Sabotaging your Real Success and Fulfilment?

The path you are taking may be the very path that is stopping you from living the life you say you want to live.

Many clients come to me after achieving much success in life and wonder why they are still not fulfilled. They are trapped in a world of success that is defined by their past or their future. Never fully being a witness to the fullness of their real success.

If you are chasing your vision and goals, thinking that your future will be better when you achieve them, then you may be on the ego path – not your true path of success.

I often get asked this question about the ego path?

“How do I know the difference between my true path and my ego path?”

Before I go further into answering this question, let’s take a look further into what the ego path is and how it may be sabotaging your real success.

The ego path is when you keep focussing on the outside tangible results e.g. how much money you want to make, the type of relationship you want to be in, your ideal career/business, trying to keep up with the Jones’s.

If you focus on the results you want on the outside ‘alone’ without coming from your own heart’s inspiration and taking those inspired actions, then you will go through life running very fast skimming the surface and certainly will not enjoy the journey on the inside. No matter how much you achieve and receive, there will always be a sense of ‘not enough yet’ or ‘not good enough yet’.

The ego path will always keep you disconnected from your true values and you will be living another person’s values in life based on what you think success should look like. Identify what success looks like, feels like and acts like from your values – not others – and certainly not the ego path. 

I often get asked this question about the ego path?

“How do I know the difference between my true path and my ego path?”

Answer:

  • If you keep comparing yourself to others and making yourself feel inadequate – is the ego path.
  • If you are continually in competition with others and not living life on what success looks like to you – is the ego path.
  • If you keep hearing yourself say…”I must do this…” “I have to do that…” “I should be doing this…” – is the ego path.
  • If you continually keep wondering if you are getting ‘it right’ in life – is the ego path.
  • If you notice you keep buying lots of stuff, getting more money, the new relationship and still not happy – is the ego path.

You will know when you are on your true path when:

  • You are in your flow and taking actions that feel good.
  • You see opportunities coming your way naturally.
  • You attract like-minded people.
  • You handle challenges by being the ‘observer’ and learning more about yourself.
  • You trust and follow your intuition and gut feelings even when you cannot see all the steps in front of you.
  • You are focused and living in the moment being fully present to life.
  • Your priority is being of service and building like-minded relationships.
  • You surrender to the flow of life.
  • You give unconditional love and acceptance for yourself and others.

Most people are taking action, thinking they are on the path of success, following other people’s vision and values. Yes, you may achieve a lot along the way, yet at what cost! Your time, energy, money, family, health, business, peace, fulfilment, connection, authenticity, relationships, creativity, inspiration, and much more etc.

At the end of the day, only you know what your truth is! Observe what’s working and what’s not working for you. Get honest about your decision-making by reflecting on whether you are taking action based on your ego path or your values connected path.

If you are ready to authentically connect and engage with your inspirational self, contact me today for an introductory coaching conversation. www.annettestanton.com/contact/

Once you have read the article, leave a comment and let me know…

What’s the single most important action you can take right now towards authentically connecting and engaging with your inspirational self?

If you know of a leader who is struggling with connecting and engaging with their inspirational self, please share this article.

Seize the Day: The Power of Being Fully Present

How often do you live in the present moment? Or do you notice that you live in the past? Or does the ‘yet to happen’ future fill up your thoughts every moment of the day, while life is passing you by?

When I was first asked this question, I had no idea what the question actually meant. This past, present and future stuff just did not resonate with my consciousness at the time. I was living my life so unconsciously – always in the past or the future, never in the present.

My head was always busy thinking about what I could have or should have done in the past or how I was going to do it all differently in the future. I missed out on a lot of fun and spontaneity in life, though since then I have made up for a lot of lost time, simply by being present.

In the next section, I will share with you how I started practising living in the present moment and got out of living in my head. For the first time in my life, I realised just how much my inner dialogue, based on false beliefs, was running my life. So, learn from your past, take off your rose-coloured ‘future’ glasses – and enjoy the fun and spontaneity of living fully now.

Seize the Day: The Power of Being Fully Present

The Gift of Being Present

Imagine you are in a 747 plane, sitting near the wing. You look outside the aircraft and to your shock; notice that the wings are on fire. The captain’s voice comes over the sound system: “This is your captain speaking. I have an emergency announcement. The wings are on fire and we are going down fast. Please listen very carefully to my instructions for your survival.” What would you do? I know I would take in every single word the captain was about to say.

What if you decided to listen to everyone in your life in exactly the same way? This is what I consciously decided to start practising . . . to listen as though the wings are on fire!

After practising listening as though the wings were on fire with everyone who spoke to me, I experienced the gift of living fully in the present moment. I can honestly tell you that I felt numb to life, until I started being present. My head was constantly filled with loud internal conversations that directed my actions, without my knowing it. The most challenging thing in my life would have to be practising living in the present moment.

Once I did this, however, the gift I received was two-fold. First, I started listening to people without the inner conversation that took me away from really connecting with them. Then I noticed how they were asking about my life and taking a genuine interest in me, because of the connection I now had with them.

It took persistent practice on my part, but over time I received the most precious gift of all: I found that the more I connected with people, the more I connected with myself. When I connected with myself, a free flow of energy occurred and I naturally started attracting the right people and opportunities into my life.

If you are ready to play a bigger and stronger game with a powerful vision, contact me today for an introductory coaching conversation. www.annettestanton.com/contact/

Once you have read the article, leave a comment and let me know…

What’s the single most important action you can take right now towards creating momentum in playing a bigger and stronger game through the power of presence?

If you know of a leader who has a vision and is struggling with creating momentum because they are not present to their next steps, please share this article.

Annette Stanton

“I see a world where leaders are being called to step up and out - to lead from their authentic self with greater connection.

My mission is to activate revolutionary leadership across the globe where leaders are living their highest vision and purposeful mission every day.”

Contact Annette
  • +61 8 9437 4820
  • annette@annettestanton.com